Category Archives: Original Fiction

Dry Spell

Wow, so I seem to be back to my old habit of not posting anything for months at a time. I won’t say anything about changing that since I’m lazy and never seem to do what I say I’m going to do. Let me take a few sentences to recap life this year…

I took the temporary job which I am now four months into (only two months to go unless I get made permanent, which I am obviously hoping for) and we’ll shortly be moving apartments (again). My brother-in-law and his wife lost their second child recently, which took a large toll on the family, and my wife finished her latest semester at university with 4 A’s and 2 B’s.

My writing has taken a turn for the interesting. I used to write Star Trek fan fiction with a small group of writers known under the banner of United Trek but I left the group, seemingly permanently, so I could concentrate on writing the Bluebonnet County stories for the monthly challenges run by Melissa Luznicky Garrett. They continued on without me and begin a huge crossover event, utilizing almost all of the ships and crews established by the various writers, and I just couldn’t resist getting back into the fold. Unfortunately, the ship and crew I had previously established were actually set too far in the future (only a year or so) to be of any use to the event, so I created an entire new ship and crew for the crossover. I am currently 14 chapters into that story, and 1 chapter into an unrelated piece of Star Trek fan fiction, and my Bluebonnet County writing has suffered because of it.

After finishing the first draft of the seventh Bluebonnet County novella, I realized that the stories were not as true to life realistic as I wanted them to be. I began to redraft the first Bluebonnet County novella, Venus’s Curse, but as I just mentioned, writing the Star Trek fan fiction derailed that plan. I still intend to redraft the story, but I believe that to do it justice I will need to expand its length considerably, perhaps even making it into a short novel (or a longer one?). I also need to actually type up the first draft of the seventh Bluebonnet County novella and edit it into a second draft before posting it on the Bluebonnet County website.

Let’s see if I can post again in a normal time frame, like three or four days from now?

Hah! That’ll be the day.

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Filed under Bluebonnet County, Crime, Home, Original Fiction, Star Trek, Work, Work in Progress, Writing

December Creative Writing Challenge Game Entry

OK, I know, I still haven’t got November’s entry up but I did finish writing it, I promise. I just have a few more pages to type up.

Since I was running out of time for my December entry, I decided to forego trying to finish the Bluebonnet County story I planned (but don’t worry I’ll finish and post it anyway) and instead opted for a short urban fantasy story (which I’m sure you’ll agree still needs some work) but here it is:

Finding My Way

(A Vincent Thomas O’Brien story)

I was in the hardware store buying a few light bulbs to replace those that had burned out in the house (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it) when my cell phone went off with the theme tune to Smallville. I use a different TV theme tune for each of my closest friends and the rest get the boring standard ring tone. This one was not exactly a close friend but she was on my speed dial and I tended to want to be saved from dealing with her, hence the theme. I paid for the light bulbs as I answered the call and was rewarded by a string of expletives that would have made a rapper pause. I waited for her to finish before I said anything but I needn’t have bothered.

‘O’Brien, get your ass to Richardson ASAP. We have work to do.’

I rarely get to speak when she has something to tell me and the only reason she tolerates my presence is the fact that she was told to work with me by her boss, the guy that sits in the Oval Office. She reports directly to him, and I do whatever she tells me to do. A tidy little arrangement that I detested, but it paid my bills and actually helped me do my job for my superiors. Sometimes it wasn’t easy though.

Richardson, Texas is not exactly a large city, but it’s not small either, and I had no idea where to find her. Thankfully, my smart phone has got a special little app that tells me exactly where she is (and no, she doesn’t know about it) so I would know where to be when she invited me to a crime scene in her usual brusque manner. I live in Arlington so I took state highways 360, 183 and 161 to Interstate 635 and then the North Central Expressway. It was usually a 45 minute journey that took me 31 minutes. That’s pretty good, right? Wrong, it was still too slow for her liking.

True to form, the first words out of her mouth were, ‘what didn’t you understand about ASAP?’

See what I mean about her charming character? ‘I got here in thirty minutes, Ryan. What have we got?’

‘That’s Special Agent Bulmer to you, Mister O’Brien,’ she shot back. ‘We have a missing girl.’

I looked at the scene before I asked why I was involved. The kitchen and dining room had been scorched in such a way that only certain sections were burned, typical Fireweaver work. I could barely sense the Transference that came with the use of Weaver abilities which meant it either happened a few days ago or not much energy was used.

‘This guy is strong,’ I told her. ‘He didn’t need to use much surrounding energy to cause the fires, but there are two distinct patterns.’

‘What makes you say that?’ she asked, eyeing me suspiciously.

I pointed out various points in the kitchen and dining room. ‘The larger scorch marks and burned areas are from balls of flame, uncontrolled. The rest are from streams of flame, highly controlled and well placed.’

‘What does that mean to me?’ she asked.

I looked around to make sure no one could hear us. ‘About four percent of the human population, around three hundred million people, can manipulate the elements of earth, fire, water and wind. They’re called Weavers. Each elemental Council maintains a record of Weavers with abilities ranging from extremely powerful to almost non-existent. The Guardians track down rogue Weavers so that the relevant council can deal with them.

‘So you’re a Guardian?’

‘Yes.’

‘What happened to your last partner?’ she asked as though I was responsible for someone’s death.

‘The last time I had a partner was three years ago. She was a fellow Guardian and she died.’

‘So am I partnered with you?’

I sighed before responding which only made her more annoyed with the situation. ‘We’ve been through this.’

‘Tell me again.’

‘The Council of Four wants Weavers and Ordinaries to co-exist peacefully. They believe that the most effective way to do that is to partner up the best cops in both camps to work together and catch rogue Weavers.’

‘Ordinaries are human beings without elemental abilities, like me?’

‘Exactly,’ I replied.

‘So why did I get partnered with you?’

‘I have the highest solve rate of any Guardian in the last hundred years,’ I replied through clenched teeth. ‘I’m told that you have the highest solve rate in Secret Service history.’

She blushed and I chalked one up to me. ‘I guess, I never thought about it.’

I shrugged.

‘So a Fireweaver was responsible then?’ she asked as she looked at what I had pointed out.

‘Yes and no.’

She scowled again, ‘explain it to me.’

I glanced into the living room and saw that it was completely untouched by the fires that had wrecked the kitchen and dining room, and presumably the garage. The scorch marks were like a running commentary on the attack, which I explained to her. ‘The door to the garage has three holes in it. The fire burned clear through the wood, into various parts of the kitchen, like a laser beam.’

‘OK, I see that; then what?’

‘The girl had obviously been in the garage when she’d been surprised by the kidnapped. She ran into the kitchen and bolted the door, which was why he blasted through it. She then ran into the dining room, instinctively throwing back less-controlled balls of fire at her attacker, which you can see where the curtains were, the refrigerator and the laundry room.’

‘So she was doing a pretty good job of protecting herself.’

‘Not really,’ I told her. ‘All she was doing was holding him off. The kitchen was the buffer zone but he managed to overpower her somehow.’

‘How?’ she asked, bewildered.

‘Did the firemen put the fire out or was it already out when they got here?’

‘It was already out,’ Bulmer said tightly. ‘A neighbor called them but by the time they arrived it was all over. Why do you ask? Does it have anything to do with how he subdued her?’

‘There’s water on the carpet by some of the areas where the girl shot back at her kidnapper. He doused them.’

‘So?’

‘It’s rare for Weavers to manipulate only fire and water. Usually it’s earth and fire, or wind and water. This Weaver can manipulate at least two elements, but I’m betting three or all four, and that makes him orders of magnitude more dangerous.’

‘Meaning?’

‘If he put the fires out, then he can probably manipulate water too, so he doused her, making sure that she couldn’t use her Fireweaving ability.’

‘Could you have?’

‘Yes, but it’s exceptionally difficult to do and requires a great deal of energy. It’s something she would have no idea how to do. Do you know why she was taken? Have they received a ransom demand?’

Bulmer scowled at me. ‘In answer to your questions, no, I don’t and yes. I have no idea why she was taken. Her parents aren’t rich and they’re certainly not powerful, but the ransom demand is for one million dollars in diamonds.’

‘Why would the kidnapper believe that they had that kind of money or diamonds?’

‘I don’t know,’ she admitted and I realized that her overly brusque manner today was because she was feeling helpless. She was secret service agent used to knowing who the enemies were and catching them. Weavers were generally a law unto themselves and she was only just getting involved in this situation, thanks to the Council of Four and the President.

‘Have you considered the fact that she might have been taken because she’s a Weaver?’ I asked.

‘Do they do that?’

‘Weavers commit crimes for the same reasons that the rest of humanity does,’ I answered and looked at the mother and father seated in the living room. ‘Where do they work?’

‘They both work in Little India. The mother works in a grocery store and the father works for a printer as a bookkeeper.’

‘Would his company have that kind of money?’

She shook her head emphatically, ‘no, they’re strictly small scale. Restaurant menus, flyers, stuff like that.’

The mother was distraught and crying, but the father looked like he was holding himself together. ‘Can I talk to the father?’

She narrowed her eyes at me. ‘No funny business.’

‘I just want to ask him some questions, confirm my theory.’

‘Fine, but I’ll be watching you.’

‘What’s his name?’

‘Tony Burdak.’

‘Thanks,’ I said and walked into the living room. ‘Mister Burdak, do you mind if I ask you a few questions?’

‘Who are you?’ he asked, suspicion coloring his tone.

‘I’m a special consultant to the Secret Service,’ I replied, shooting a glance back at Bulmer. ‘Can you tell me if you’ve had any unusual fires before?’

‘What kind of a question is that?’ Burdak asked though it was clear to me that he knew what I was talking about.

‘Have you? It’s important if you want us to get your daughter back.’

Bulmer was about to step in when Burdak sighed. ‘Yes, a few months ago Anita was watching the television when there was an electrical fire.’

‘Why did you think it was strange?’

‘We had the wiring throughout the house redone. It shouldn’t have happened.’

‘What was she watching?’

‘Harry Potter, I think she got scared at one point, just before it happened.’

‘Thank you, Mister Burdak, you’ve been a great help.’

‘Will it help you find Anita?’

‘Yes it will.’

Bulmer stood with her arms crossed by the kitchen doorway. ‘Well?’

‘Anita Burdak is a powerful young Fireweaver. She manifested her abilities when she got scared watching a movie.’

‘So you think she was taken because she’s a Fireweaver?’

‘Yes, but there are two questions that need to be answered first. The first is what the kidnapper wants her for, and the second is whether the ransom demand is genuine. What do we do about the ransom demand?’

‘Only that the kidnapper left a note asked for one million dollars in diamonds. He would call in six hours with an address,’ she told me. ‘What would a Weaver want with the diamonds?’

I considered the question. Our abilities don’t need a focus like magic does but we need money just like everyone else. ‘He could be working for someone else who needs the diamonds. Maybe he thinks that he can turn the diamonds into money himself. Or there’s a third option.’

‘Which is?’

‘The demand for diamonds is a decoy that will have the police chasing their tails while he makes a getaway with the girl.’

Bulmer frowned. ‘What do you think?’

‘I think it’s a decoy. He found out the girl has strong Fireweaver abilities and wants them for some reason. If we find out what that reason is, we’ll know how to catch him.’

‘OK, I’ll tell the police to treat the ransom as a hoax unless they get proof of life. If you’re wrong, the girl could die.’

‘I’m aware of that, thank you, Special Agent Bulmer.’

‘Is there any other way to find him?’ she asked.

‘Have the local police look the any unusual elemental activity.’

‘Such as?’

‘Tell them to look for minor earthquakes, arson, water leaks or unusual weather.’

‘Then what?’

‘We’ll go in, rescue the girl and stop the Weaver.’

‘That simple, is it?’

‘Hopefully.’

‘We’ll see,’ she said and spoke to the father again.

I busied myself looking at the scorch patterns to try and get an idea of just how powerful the young girl was and was poking around what was left of a chair and Bulmer returned with a stuffed donkey.

‘What’s that?’

‘Anita’s favorite stuffed animal. She’ll know we’re there to help if we have this.’

‘Right then,’ she said and issued orders to the local cops, including watching out for unusual weather activity.’

‘Agent Bulmer!’ a Richardson Police Department officer called out. ‘One of our people just responded to a call by the railway tracks near the Canyon Creek Country Club. Thought you might be interested. At first it was believed to be smoke but it’s actually fog, coming off the creek.’

She looked at me and I nodded. ‘What’s the address?’

‘An old warehouse for the Richardson Sausage Company, Synergy Park Boulevard, you can’t miss it.’

‘Thanks,’ she replied and then headed for the car at sprint. ‘Let’s go.’

‘Do you have a plan?’ I asked her.

‘We go in, you distract the Weaver and I get the girl. If you make it out alive you can join me outside.’

I sighed, ‘Gee, thanks.’

The Richardson cop was right, we couldn’t miss it, even through the fog. The warehouse was huge, covering an entire city block, but it was all boarded up. We got out of the car and I used a little Windweaver power to blow away the fog in our path to the front door. As soon as I opened the door I sensed the Transference and pushed Bulmer to the ground as a stream of flame passed by us. She scuttled inside, pulled her gun from its holster and tried to find him.

‘Upper catwalk,’ she whispered and I looked up to see him holding the girl as a shield.

I noticed something odd and tried to focus on the girl. She was dripping wet and a constant flow of water was being funneled from the rogue Weaver onto the girl, preventing her from using her abilities. With his other hand, the Weaver was firing streams of flame at us every time we showed ourselves and he moved further along the catwalk, toward something on the other side.

Bulmer couldn’t get a shot and I knew that the girl didn’t have long. I balled up a little firepower of my own and shot it several feet ahead of him. A section of the catwalk exploded and he jumped back, then started to move the other way. As he moved, Bulmer obviously found a shot and fired, but he used some wind to send the bullet elsewhere.

I realized that I was going to have to stop him myself, so I gathered a little water in my hands from the fog floating around and then gathered more until I had a good sized ball of water, like a water balloon without the balloon. I lobbed it toward him and it was sufficiently dense that his gust of wind didn’t deflect it before it impacted him like a giant paintball. He instinctively let go of the girl and tried to grab the railing as he fell backward over it but he missed and landed in a pile of empty pallets. I rushed over to him to check and see if he was still alive, but the fall had broken his neck.

I turned around and saw that Bulmer had the girl in her arms clutching the stuffed donkey. She nodded at me and then took the girl back to her car. I stayed behind to wait for an Aetherweaver to come and clear up the mess and give him my verbal report.

The only question the Aetherweaver asked was if I knew what he planned to do with her powers. It was something I couldn’t answer.

END

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Filed under creative writing, Creative Writing Challenge Game, Crime, Original Fiction, Psychics, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Writing, Writing Competition

The Man on the Bridge

So it’s been a little too long since I posted a story here. The World Series slowed me down (not a good excuse, but hey, who cares?) and the second Scrabble Challenge I set came and went. Here’s my entry for the scrabble challenge, and I will be doing it again soon, but I have to finish a couple of other stories first, most notably the November challenge for the ML Garrett monthly creative writing challenge, and I have to do the December challenge too. I’m going to be busy.

The Man on the Bridge

Enjoy!

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Filed under Bluebonnet County, creative writing, Creative Writing Challenge Game, Crime, Original Fiction, Writing, Writing Competition

Radical Rethink!

It has been 89 days since I last wrote on this blog which is unforgivable and probably why I don’t have any hits.

Since I last posted I’ve gone through any number of false starts on various writing projects, finished a short story and submitted it to Analog Science Fiction and Fact (a feat in and off itself for me) but it was rejected.

At this moment in time I am no longer considering writing material for publication, merely for fun, and it feels good. I have decided to take part in a monthly competition, the details of which can be found here but the basic idea is that with a few provided prompts you write a story in a month and post it to your blog, link it to hers, and let people read it.

I’m currently around 3,700 words and about two thirds of the way through the story. I hope to get it finished by the end of the week so I can have a little time to type it up (I’m handwriting it, old-fashioned I know), edit and polish it. I will be posting it here on or around September 1, 2011 so at least I’ll not have an excuse for not posting for another three months.

See you in a few.

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Filed under creative writing, Creative Writing Challenge Game, Crime, Original Fiction, Publishing, Writing

Novel Dilemma

Two weeks since my last post and the crime novel I have been working on has been usurped by the alternate history novel I started sometime last year and stalled on at around 40,000 words. My wife had me read the prologue to a novel she was reading and it gave me an idea on reworking my novel. I’ve written the new prologue and it looks somewhat lackluster to me, but it has potential. What I am in a quandary about is whether or not to continue with this novel or go back to the crime novel, or even to just leave novels out altogether and just concentrate on short stories, at least until I build up a portfolio…

I definitely need to think about it some more, possibly a lot more.

Starting at the beginning of February I will also be including reviews of books I have been reading, Starting with Clive Cussler’s Sacred Stone. There will be no spoilers for those of you haven’t read the book.

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Filed under Alternative History, creative writing, Crime, Original Fiction, Publishing, Writing

2011 Resolutions

This is my first post of the new year and I should have done it 12 days ago.

My new year’s resolutions are as follows:

1: Lose weight. This is very important since I am morbidly obese and I have several health issues which will be greatly diminished by reducing my excessive weight. Since the beginning of December I have already lost 13lbs. I’m now exercising as well as reducing my calorie intake. My goal is to be 180lbs by December 15th 2011.

2: Write a novel (or as much of one as I can). This is also important because I need to write a lot more than I am. Even if my Star Trek fan fiction suffers, what I am currently working on (more about that later) will hopefully earn me money in the long run and that can only be a good thing. I’ll be 29 this year and I’m not exactly close to getting published.

3: Write short stories. This is for the short term. I am aiming to have written six short stories this year and have them in the process of being published by the end of the year.

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Filed under creative writing, Original Fiction, Publishing, Resolutions, Star Trek, Weight Loss, Writing

Updates on Writing and Books

Wow, 2 months since my last post.

I really have to get better about maintaining this blog or it will fall into the internet abyss.

OK, let’s see, what happened in the last two months. Instead of shopping the short story around to the magazines, I submitted it to the Jim Baen Writing Contest, the winners of which will be contacted on/around March 15th. There was nothing more I could do with that story so I started writing another one…and I’m still writing it.

It is the second story set in my Commonwealth universe, though this time about twenty years earlier than the first story was, and it looks to be significantly longer than the first story, perhaps even a novella.

In other news, my wife and I finally moved into a new apartment in a much better neighborhood than the previous place was, though transport is more tricky, but we have worked out a suitable arrangement, at least for now.

I have not read much in the last two months but I did just finish reading a Star Trek: The Next Generation novel, Grounded by David Bischoff. It was set during the series’ run (1987-1994) and is therefore a cookie-cutter novel, with no major changes occurring to upset the status quo, but that said it was rather enjoyable.

An alien life form based on silicon almost causes the Enterprise to be destroyed, but one of the B plots saves the day with Picard, Data and Geordi’s assistance (Riker and Worf are both knocked unconscious). Sentient or quasi-sentient clay is not original to science fiction, I’m sure, but it is my first association with it and I found the use of the clay quite intriguing. It was deadly to the people on the outpost, being on a planetary surface, but seemed to grow while attached to the Enterprise. Apparently a simple magnetic field shift is enough to render the clay relatively harmless, and thus renders the A plot just as harmless, in my opinion.

While the A plot was interesting, I found myself more drawn to one of the B plots, where an autistic child needs help to prevent her from going catatonic at times, and an interesting speculation came forward, that perhaps autistic children are telepaths of some degree but they are unable to process all the external stimuli that come with this and retreat into themselves, becoming almost catatonic. It is an interesting notion and one that I have filed it away for later use in my Commonwealth universe, though I don’t currently know where it might fit.

I have just started reading the next Star Trek: The Next Generation novel I have, The Devil’s Heart by Carmen Carter. I will probably post my thoughts on it here once done.

Provided I don’t forget.

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Filed under Autism, book review, Commonwealth universe, Home, Original Fiction, Psychics, reading, Star Trek, Writing Competition